The Big Budget Challenge – Week II

I’m  now in my second week of ‘The Big Budget Challenge’ hosted by the lovely Laura @ Keeping Healthy Getting Stylish.  I did okay in Week I, but Week 2 has been even better 🙂 

Here’s a run down of my top ‘money saves’ this week:

1. Avoid waste. No food thrown away this week!  

See these sad-looking bananas….

I turned them into this:

It’s banana cinnamon ‘ice cream’.  It’s so creamy that you would think it was proper ice cream!  To make it, I simply cut the bananas into slices, froze them, then whizzed them in the blender on the ice setting until they were all chopped up.  I then transferred them to a bowl, added a dash of nondairy milk, lashings of cinnamon and a tablespoon of ground linseed.  I then pulsed them using a hand blender until they went white and creamy.  The bananas were so ripe that I didn’t need to add any sweetener.  Lil’ L loves this dessert and it makes a nice change from apples 😉

2. Shop around for cheapest deals.  I finally got round to trying out that a friend recommended way back in the summer.  I was really impressed with it.  It’s so simple to use.  At a click of a button, it allows you to import your online shopping basket from your usual provider (mine’s Tesco). You can then easily edit the basket, deleting items you no longer need and adding new items. 

Then, it does something really useful…

  • It shows you how you can save money by swapping to cheaper items. If you agree with their ‘Swap & Save’ suggestions, you just click to swap.  I saved £6.36 by swapping some items.
  • It then compares the cost of your basket at four supermarkets.  If your shop would be cheaper elsewhere, you just click to swap.  I did a big grocery shop (83 items) and the total was £139 at Tesco.  In Asda, the same shop would have cost me £155; Sainsbury’s £166; and Ocado (Waitrose) a wopping £177. I’ve always done my big grocery shops at Tesco, so it was great to discover that it is actually the cheapest supermarket for me. 🙂 
    It’s interesting because the cheapest supermarket very much depends on the types of groceries you buy.  For my friend, Sainsbury’s came out £30 cheaper than Tesco!  Lately, I’ve been disorganised with my grocery shopping and have ended up buying bits and pieces on a weekly basis from the Waitrose in Bath.  By getting more organised and ordering a fortnightly Tesco home delivery, I should save a small fortune! 🙂 

3. Make use of home grown foods.  We’re eating tons of apples and there’s still hundreds left!  After watching Monty Don’s episode on how to ‘over winter’ apples, I challenged M to make me a storage contraption using old scraps from the garage.  He rose to the challenge and made a great storage system…..

… but it took him the whole of Sunday.  He’s now banned me from watching Gardners’ World as he’s fed up with landing Monty Don’s ‘Jobs for the Weekend’. 😉

4. Go foraging!  No foraging this week as I’m still working out what to do with all the nuts we found last week

5. Make use of vouchers and deals. HUGE savings here! Last Friday, me and my good friend J went to London to meet up with our gorgeous friends N and H for lunch.  I converted my Tesco vouchers into tokens for and managed to get both our travel tickets for FREE!  A total saving of £66!  This meant we had more cash to spend on gorgeous eats and drinks 🙂 

So, lots of savings this week.  Good thing too because next week is going to be v. v. expensive 😉 

10 thoughts on “The Big Budget Challenge – Week II

  1. I’ve never been on mysupermarket, but it sounds great! I find that home shopping in general is a great way to save money – it stops me from impulse buying stuff. I like to have a mooch around occasionally though.

    1. It’s definitely a good way to stop the impulse buying. Whenever I pop in Waitrose for 1 item… you can bet that I’ll come out with at least 2 bags filled!

  2. The mysupermarket site sounds amazing it would be wonderful to have that state side as of right now I have to compare the items myself. Here is a little *pat on the back* for the smart shopping and for the tesco rewards (another smart system you all have going on across the pond).
    Thanks for sharing your wonderful savings hopefully next week won’t be TOO bad 🙂

    1. Thanks Rachel! I’ll try and restrain the spending next week, but we’ve got a trip to Sherwood Forest, Lil’ L’s birthday (Wednesday) and his birthday treat on Friday. Good thing I’ve managed to save a bit of money over the last 2 weeks 😉

  3. You are doing great Sharon! I try to never waste either! It happens, but I use up everything more often than not! This banana ice cream looks so good! I have my freezer filled with over ripe bananas, but I never get around to use them because my blender wont make me ice cream :O It blends up ice and all, but it needs liquid, and thats not too good for ice cream-making 🙂

    1. Thanks Ragnhild! One of the banana ‘icecream’ recipes I’ve seen mentions using 1/4 cup nondairy milk with 2 bananas. This might work in your blender. If it’s too soft, you could always re-freeze it. I start off with my blender, but when it starts getting stuck I transfer it to a bowl and finish it off with the hand (stick) blender. This brings it together really nicely and makes it almost white.

    1. Thanks Laura! I’m on my second year of ‘sabbatical’ and don’t want to go back to the day job, so I need to keep finding creative ways of keeping the costs down. I’m hoping I can keep the budget challenge going after the two months are up. It’s pretty good fun too! 🙂

  4. Good job on the savings! I can not believe al those beautiful apples for free!! I would pay you to send me some if you lived stateside, I think it would be cheaper than what I am paying for my apples in the store!! 😉

    1. There’s such a glut of apples in Bath this year that we can’t even give them away! People have literally put boxes outside their houses with signs saying ‘please take away’.
      Such a shame I can’t share our bounty with you!

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